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Attachment Theories

Scottish Higher Psychology: Attachment Theories

Attachment An emotional bond between two people. A 2-way process that endures over time. Typical behaviours: clinging, proximity-seeking. Function - protecting the infant.
Separation Anxiety The distress shown by an infant when separated from its primary caregiver.
Stranger Anxiety The distress an infant displays when approached or picked up by an unfamiliar person.
Primary Attachment Figure The person that the infant has formed the closest bond with - shown by the intensity of the relationship.
Primary Caregiver The person providing most of the care for a child (feeding, bathing, etc).
Classical Conditioning Learning occurs through association. UCRs are paired with UCS. A NS becomes associated with a UCS and, eventually, will produce the UCR. Thus the NS becomes a CS and produces a CR.
Operant Conditing Learning occurs by reinforcement (+ or -), this increases the chances of a particular behaviour being repeated.
Negative Reinforcement Where an organism experiences positive consequences as result of avoiding / escaping from an aversive / unpleasant situation, e.g. reduction in discomfort.
Cupboard Love theories Theories which suggest the infant becomes attached only because they are fed. They become attached to the person that feeds them, it is that simple.
Social Releasers Specific infant behaviours which elicit a caring response - encourages adults to bond with infants, e.g crying, smiling. Makes the bond RECIPROCAL.
Monotropy The innate tendency for a child to become attached to especially one person in a way that is qualitatively different from all other attachments: it is a unique bond. It is vital for emotional development and later relationships hinge on it.
Internal Working Model A mental model (aka schema) of relationships which is formed according to the earliest bond with the PAF. It influences the quality of bonds formed later in life.
The Continuity Hypothesis The idea that there is a link between early attachment and later social and emotional relationships. Those securely attached as infants are more likely to be popular in school and have good love relationships later.
Secure Attachment A strong, happy bond between an infant and its caregiver. This results from the caregiver responding sensitively to the infants needs. Related to healthy cognitive and emotional development.
Temperament Hypothesis The idea that the child's own temperament / personality influences the attachment with the caregiver.
Critical Period A period of time when an animal is exclusively receptive to certain experiences - biologically determined age range.
Sensitive Period A period of time when an animal is most likely to acquire certain behaviours. They can be acquired at any time/age but much less easily.
Caregiver Sensitivity Hypothesis The strength and quality of the attachment is directly related to how sensitive and responsive the caregiver is to the infant.
Insecure Attachment An attachment type that is a result of the caregiver's lack of sensitive responsiveness to the infant's needs. Possibly related to later poorer emotional and cognitive development.
Insecure/Avoidant A type of attachment that shown by children who tend to avoid social interaction and intimacy with others.
Insecure/Resistant A type of attachment shown by children that both seek and reject intimacy and social interaction - ambivalent.
Created by: m-g-m